A solid online marketing strategy is one that takes into consideration the need to attract leads, nurture relationships with those leads, and then convert them into sales. Most businesses have different online marketing activities in place for each step of this sales process, from social media marketing efforts geared towards attracting an online audience, and email marketing efforts meant to deepen those relationships, to a website built to close the deal. While many of these companies also use content marketing as an integral part of their overall strategy, it’s important to have a content marketing plan in place that includes writing fresh content specifically for each step of the sales process. Guiding leads through the sales funnel using content boosts the effectiveness of any social media or email marketing efforts exponentially. So how can your business craft content so compelling that it could attract, nurture, and convert leads all on its own, even without the help of other marketing activities? We’ve assembled some tips to get you started.
1. Focus on writing content that will be found by search engines. Use SEO keyword research to come up with blog topics that people are searching for. But don’t stop there. As much as possible, look for and use the exact phrases they’re using, so you’ll be more easily findable online. If Google isn’t giving you much help in that department, turn to your existing online audience and ask them directly what they’d like to see in terms of content. Then use parts of their responses verbatim as keywords in your blog. Attracting search engine traffic through SEO keyword practices is the first and most basic step to take in this process.
2. Reach out to other industry experts’ audiences. By guest blogging on other sites, you’ll not only be reaching new audiences, many of whom will be persuaded to join you on your own site once they see what you have to offer, but you’ll also begin the process of nurturing relationships with these and other leads, who will take your connection with these other industry experts as confirmation of your own expertise. And as a bonus, the external links back to your site will once again help you rank higher in search engines, making your content even more easily findable.
3. Attract leads with popular blog formats and titles. In order to persuade people to read your content, you first have to catch their interest with the title – so make it something that people want to click on. Research shows us that list posts are extremely effective at garnering clicks, so format your content appropriately. Think of these list posts as your bait and hooks when fishing for leads in the ocean of the internet.
4. Nurture leads with in-depth, authoritative, helpful content. Once you’ve attracted those leads, it’s time to nurture the relationship. Fill your blog with long, detailed pieces giving valuable information and advice to your audience. Show off your expertise, and help those leads begin to trust you as a resource. How-to posts have been proven to be especially compelling in convincing leads to sign up for email newsletters, so write your content accordingly.
5. Allow guest bloggers to post on your site. Just as guest blogging on experts’ sites can help you attract new leads, inviting those same experts to guest blog on your site will give you the aura of an industry leader, and boost your credibility in the eyes of your online audience.
6. Get personal. Let the voice of your brand shine through in your content. People need to feel a human connection with the people behind a company, and giving your content personality is one way to establish that connection. It’s not quite enough for leads to trust you – they need to like you, too, and this is the way to win their approval.
7. Start the conversion process by telling your story. Now that you’ve solidified your relationship with your online audience, you need to start the process of converting those leads into sales. Convince them of your company’s passion for what you do, and explain why you care so much about it. Tell them your company’s story, share your company’s values with them, and make them want to be a part of what you’re doing, too.
8. Provide evidence of your abilities. Once you’ve gotten their emotions engaged, give them the hard facts to back them up. Provide data in the form of numbers and percentages, write case studies about your successes, and display customer testimonials. The more social proof and hard data you can back up your work with, the more likely your leads will be to convert.
9. Anticipate questions. Write content that answers common questions your leads may need to be answered before they are comfortable with buying. You can tap actual questions asked of your customer service representatives, to ensure that you have your finger on the pulse of your audience.
10. Use links and calls to action strategically. Within your blog posts, link to the marketing pages you want your audience to visit. Add calls to action to motivate your leads to fill out that contact form.
11. And finally, write content aimed at your most difficult prospect. After taking all these steps, the knock-out punch is one amazing piece of content written specifically to answer the questions, objections, and concerns of the most difficult-to-convert prospect you can imagine. Perhaps you already have experience with this type of prospective customer and can use the comments they made as a starting point. Address every conceivable concern, and make your strongest case for why your company is their best choice. By implementing these 11 tips in your own content marketing strategy, you’ll soon have a treasury of content on your site perfectly crafted to attract, nurture, and convert leads. Paired with your other online marketing efforts, content like this can’t help but lead to success.